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April 2013

The Homewood Star Volume 3 | Issue 1 | April 2013

Field of dreams

neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood

Speaking for the survivors After a battle with ovarian cancer, HHS senior Camille Ponseti is this year’s Relay for Life honorary chair ›› See more area runs on page 7 By MEGAN SMITH

Hall-Kent first grader Aidan Cockrell has dreams of the big leagues. Find out more inside.

Sports page 20

Spring Home Guide Special Section page 22

Acting out Homewood Superintendent Bill Cleveland voiced concerns with portions of Alabama’s recently passed Accountability Act.

School House page 12

INSIDE Sponsors ................. 2 City ........................... 4 Community ............. 5 Food ......................... 10 Business .................. 11 School House ......... 13 Sports ...................... 16 Calendar ................. 26 Opinion .................... 27

Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #656

Camille Ponseti studied for her A.P. English exam for more than a year, but come test time she wasn’t in her seat. She had more important things to worry about. The previous day, the Homewood High School junior was rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pain. She had been in minor pain and had a fever on and off for a few weeks, but wasn’t aware it was anything serious – until doctors discovered and removed a grapefruit-sized tumor on her ovaries. Believing it to be an ovarian cyst, they sent Ponseti home to recover for a few weeks. It was May 2012 when Ponseti returned for her follow-up visit

and was told the pathology report on the cyst came back with surprising results. It was actually a rare germ cell cancer, Dysgerminoma, a malignant tumor of the ovary. According to, less than 2 percent of ovarian cancers are germ cell tumors. But her doctor said there was a 97 percent survival rate, which helped her remain strong. “Being told I have cancer was a numbing feeling,” Ponseti said. “It took a while to set in.” Although the tumor was removed, its rupturing could have potentially released cancer cells into her body. Trace amounts

See Ponseti | page 25

Camille Ponseti wears a teal wig, the color representing ovarian cancer awareness. After beating the disease, she is the “face” of the 2013 Relay for Life. She is pictured with, clockwise from front left, Lew Price and Jake, Jaimie and Trish Ponseti.

Proposed Master Plan for former Magnolia Apartments property unveiled

Access Road

By MADOLINE MARKHAM Soon, the former Magnolia Apartments property on Valley Avenue will no longer be an eyesore for the community. Homewood City Schools has developed a new master plan for the 24 acres adjacent to Homewood Middle School, which were ue en Av purchased by HCS in December 2010. y lle Va The proposed Master Plan prioritizes building a new Central Office for Homewood City Schools and creating green space to serve the schools and community. The team behind the master plan worked to take into account the

See Boe | page 25

Relocated 200 Meter Track Athletic & Maintenance Storage Parking for Baseball Field & Tennis Courts Parking for Central Office

ue en Av y lle Va

New Central Office Outdoor Classroom

Existing Homewood Middle School

Existing Community Garden

The former Magnolia Apartments property is located south of Valley Avenue and east of Homewood Middle School. Rendering courtesy of William Blackstone Architects.

2 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

About Us Photo of the Month

Please Support our Sponsors AccelAbility Physical Therapy (27) Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center (5) Alabama Power (5) Backyard Adventures (24) Birmingham Speech and Hearing Associates (9) Briarcliff Shop (22) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (25)

City officials participate in the groundbreaking for the new Homewood Community Center next to Central Park on March 15. B.L. Harbert International will oversee the construction of this $16.5 million project, which is scheduled to open late spring 2014. Photo by Megan Smith.

Publisher’s Note By Dan Starnes

The birth of a Star A lot can happen in two years. Around the end of 2010, my girlfriend was prodding me to start a Homewood paper. It wasn’t a new idea. Tricia Ford at the Homewood Chamber had been asking me for months. Since I published two community newspapers already, the idea made a lot of sense. But who could handle the editorial duties and plug in to the community? My girlfriend Alison suggested that her friend Ashley Berkery (formerly Copeland) would be a good fit. They had graduated from Homewood High School together. I met with Ashley and we talked about big picture ideas. I thought we were still in the conceptual phase of the development when I began to receive text messages and calls from Ashley. She had another advertiser committed, or another writer or contributor lined up. The project was moving forward without much effort from me. I decided to get on board. Ashley has stepped away from the ed-

itor’s role to focus on her family. We will miss her, but fortunately she hasn’t gone too far. In the 24 issues since we started, we’ve accomplished many positive things in this community. We sponsored a candidate forum for last year’s city elections. We have been two-time presenting sponsors of Taste of Homewood. We’ve been able to contribute to the Homewood City Schools foundation multiple times. We’ve printed hundreds of stories of events and community coverage, sports stories, feature stories and many more. My favorite story we published was written about the Suthers, a Homewood family whose two children had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease known as Fanconi anemia. The story was published in The Star’s first issue, April 2011, in a time when the Suther’s oldest child, Gage, would possibly need a bone marrow transplant in the near future. The procedure would require long-term travel and considerable expense for the family.

Their father had recently been let go from his job, so we decided to start an account to benefit them and solicit support from the community. The community pitched in and helped them with expenses for their trip to the Ronald McDonald House in New York. It was such a great feeling each day as checks from The Homewood Star readers came in to support that family. Two years later, they no longer live in Homewood, but remember our city fondly for the generosity of strangers who contributed to their lives. Gage has had his stem cell transplant, and his bone marrow counts are great. “He’s just as healthy as any of us,”his mother, Chelsea, recently told me. Oh, and my girlfriend Alison who made it all come together, she’s now my wife. We live in West Homewood and will soon start our fifth community newspaper in the Birmingham area. See you around,

Dan Starnes

Christopher Glenn (22) D1 Sports (19) Dominique V. Backus, D.D.S (9) Escape (7) First Lenders Mortgage Corp (21) Harmony Landing (24) Homewood Antiques and Marketplace (20) Homewood Chamber of Commerce (11) Homewood Family and Cosmetic Dentistry (10) Homewood Parks and Rec (18) Jackson’s Bar & Bistro (8) Jacqueline DeMarco (13) Jo Jo’s Diner on Broadway (16) Julie Ivy White (14) Junior League of Birmingham (26) LAH Real Estate (11) Mark Westfall (20) Mosquito Squad of Birmingham (17) Mountain Brook Art Association (14) Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics (13)

On the front page of the March issue of The Homewood Star, Homewood High School senior Jay Michael Williams was incorrectly identified as Justin Hardy.

The Homewood Star

neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood

Dan Starnes Keith McCoy Madoline Markham Jeff Thompson Matthew Allen Rhonda Smith Warren Caldwell Contributing Writers : Lauren Denton Merrick Wilson Rick Watson Allie Saxon Interns : Clayton Hurdle Megan Smith Nathan Kelly Published by : Homewood Star LLC

Brookwood Medical Center (4)

Mary House Kessler, Ph.D (27)


Publisher : Creative Director : Managing Editor : Executive Editor : Advertising Manager : Sales and Distribution :

Brookdale Place (7)

Contact Information: The Homewood Star #3 Office Park Circle, Suite 316 Birmingham, AL 35223 313-1780

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253

Plastic Surgery Specialists (25) Powell Pediatric Dentistry (6) PreSchool Partners (26) RealtySouth Marketing (23) Red Mountain Theatre Company (16) Regency Retirement Village (12) Renaissance Consignment and Marketplace (6, 15) Salem’s Diner (13) Sew Sheri Designs (17)

For advertising contact:

Skin Wellness Center of Alabama (12)

Legals: The Homewood Star is published monthly. Reproduction or use

The Wade Team (14)

of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. The Homewood Star is designed to inform the Homewood community of area school, family and community events. Information in The Homewood Star is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of The Homewood Star. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.

Please recycle this paper

Sunny’s Package Store (14) VCA Becker Animal Hospital (16) Watkins Cleaners (27) YMCA Camp Hargis Retreat (21)

April 2013 • 3

Join the world’s to end cancer. Come support the Relay For Life and make a difference in the fight against cancer. Together we’ll stay well, get well, find cures and fight back. Relay For Life is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. It’s a community event that supports the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives. Teams: Dedicated teams of friends, families and coworkers rally together to raise funds in support of those who have been touched by this disease. Luminaria: During a special luminaria ceremony, candles will be lit remembering loved ones and honoring those battling cancer. Activities: Entertainment and activities are planned to keep the event festive from dusk till dawn.

Sign Up Today! Relay For Life of Homewood April 26, 2013 | 4:00 p.m. | Homewood Central Park For more information contact Kristi Lovell at 205-930-8860 or or visit

1.800.227.2345 | |

4 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

City Mayor’s Minute Dear friends and neighbors, It has been another exciting month in Homewood. We held the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Target and then the Groundbreaking Ceremony to begin new construction for the Homewood Community Center. These are great events for our city because of the vast opportunities that become available when progress is being made. It’s almost a domino effect with one great event leading to another, and right now we are on a roll. We continue to build new sidewalks, and we just met with a company last month about a new way to repair some of our sidewalks. If this concept works, it will save us thousands of dollars and allow us the benefit of having two options. It would allow us to stretch our budgeted dollars for sidewalk repair, and it could allow dollars to be utilized for additional sidewalks not yet scheduled. Whatever happens, I trust it will be a win-win for the city. For me, projects always seem to be easier and flow more smoothly when I can begin with the end in mind. I don’t get frustrated nearly as much with the details of building a new recreation center if I can first picture the kids, their parents, and grandparents having fun at the new center! Then I get excited about the details because there is a purpose and an outcome. The same can be said for sidewalks. The construction phase is much easier on me if I can first picture our families walking, riding bikes and pulling their children in little wagons. That’s when I drive down the street, smile and know the many hours and late night meetings were worth it.

While going through my city mail usually consisting of bills, notices of public meetings, and occasional lawsuits, from time to time I have the pleasure of finding a letter or note. The note one day last month was from Mr. Isley’s second grade class at Hall-Kent Elementary: “Dear Mayor McBrayer, we have a few questions for you like….. did you give the poor people money? Did you enjoy playing football for Samford? What position did you play? Did you win the championship ever? What is it like at Samford? May we have more bus stops?” Another family on Morris Blvd. wrote me a letter as well: “Thank you for the recent sidewalks on Morris Blvd. Our family loves them.” The note was accompanied by a magic marker drawing of a child riding a bicycle on a new sidewalk. I have always appreciated getting those notes, and I have saved each and every one of them over the years. They are simple reminders of why I begin with the end in mind. Homewood continues to be blessed, and I am grateful you allow me to serve as your mayor. With kindest regards I remain Sincerely,       Scott McBrayer Mayor

We Love Homewood Day set for May 4 By MADOLINE MARKHAM The annual We Love Homewood Day is moving west this year due to construction on the new Homewood Community Center at Central Park. The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at Patriot Park and the Homewood Senior Center in West Homewood. All the festivities, however, will remain the same: rides and inflatables, an arts and crafts and vendor expo, a Rotary bake sale and sidewalk chalk expo, a silent auction, and live entertainment. This year the West Homewood Lions Club will add ribs to their barbecue menu. The day kicks off with the Spirit Scamper run, which starts at Homewood High School at 7:30 a.m. Back at the park, a $15 wristband will provide unlimited access to rides, and individual

tickets will also be for sale for 50 cents each. The evening street dance in Edgewood will feature the band Bonus Round. The climax of the day is the parade of the high school band, cheerleaders and all kinds of vehicles and floats who proceed from the Homewood Library to Edgewood starting at 6 p.m. “The parade is the most fun part to me,” said Rusty Holley of Homewood Parks and Recreation. “I remember riding in the parade one year and we saw as we topped the hill at Trinity United Methodist the whole area was solid people. It was neat to see.” For more on We Love Homewood Day, visit or contact Rusty Holley at 3326705 or For more on Spirit Scamper, visit

We Love Homewood Day Schedule 7:30 a.m. - Spirit Scamper 5K /1 Mile Fun Run, Homewood High School 10 a.m.-4 p.m. - Spring in the Park Festival, Patriot Park 10 a.m.-3 p.m. - Arts and Crafts/Vendor Business Expo, Patriot Park 10 a.m. - Silent Auction, Homewood Senior Center 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. - West Homewood Lions BBQ Fundraiser, Homewood Senior Center Auditorium 6 p.m. - We Love Homewood Day Parade, Route from the library to Edgewood 7-9:30 p.m. - We Love Homewood Day Street Dance, Edgewood Business District

April 2013 • 5

Community Edgewood Spring Festival coming back this month Edgewood Elementary School will host Spring Festival, the school’s only fundraiser, on Saturday, April 27 from 2-6 p.m. The festival features inflatables and carnival rides for all ages, games and prizes, and plenty of festival food. A silent auction featuring artwork, restaurant gifts cards, trips and merchandise from local businesses will be held in the school gym from 2-5 p.m. A live auction featuring exceptional items will begin at 4 p.m. in the gym. Tickets and armbands will be available for purchase on the day of the festival. All proceeds go directly back into Edgewood’s classrooms to benefit teachers and students. For more information, contact Barry Smith at

Edgewood Elementary students prepare for this year’s spring festival.

Fundraiser to sell Maine lobsters Maine lobsters are coming to Birmingham as a fundraiser for the Assistance League of Birmingham. Now in its fifth year, the sale has been a popular excuse for groups in the area to plan lobster parties. The lobsters can be ordered live or freshly steamed and wrapped to-go. The deadline for orders is May 3, and the lobsters can be picked up Friday, May 10 from 3-6 p.m. at Assistance League of Birmingham, 1755 Oxmoor Road. Lobsters are $25 each and can be ordered by calling 960-1040. The league’s all-volunteer membership administers the three

nonprofits. PrimeTime Treasures opened in Homewood (located at 1755 Oxmoor Road) in 1977 and features unique, handmade items by Alabama seniors and has returned over $3.9 million to these artisans. Operation School Bell provides new clothing to area school children at 28 local schools. Since 1985, the program has provided clothes to more than 25,000 youngsters. Operation Literacy provides reading tutors to students who are reading below grade level and offers additional help to new English learners. To learn more about the league, visit

Assistance League President Mary Ann Wade is preparing for the organization’s annual lobster sale.

Call for blood answered at OLS

Vann Walthall, Joe Dodson and Justin Brouillette of American Boy Scout Troop 28 display a T-shirt donors received during the Knights of Columbus-American Red Cross Blood Drive at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.

The Knights of Columbus cooked up scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and biscuits for blood donors and their families on March 3. Knights of Columbus member Chad Gentry encouraged parishioners to participate. OLS blood donations were collected by American Red Cross staff members. Members of American Boy Scout Troop 28 were on hand to make sure things ran smoothly. George Bartle, Dale Richards, April Hines and Sanchez Hines enjoy a hot breakfast during the Knights of ColumbusAmerican Red Cross Blood Drive at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Homewood.


• April 2013

The Homewood Star

Community’s garden is a collaborative effort By CLAYTON HURDLE

THOUSANDS of dresses

Julie Gentry grew up in Homewood. She went to school in Homewood, and now her son is a student at Homewood Middle School. Her next step is to give back to Homewood by creating a learning environment out of the vacant area where the old HMS once stood. Gentry conceived the concept of a Homewood Community Garden more than two years ago. Her mission involves beautifying a looked-over piece of land, creating a learning experience for Homewood’s youth, using environmentally friendly techniques and, most importantly, bringing the community of Homewood together. In March fifth grade students from Shades Cahaba Elementary School’s art club were responsible for installing the garden’s first art piece. A wooden frame contains canvas paintings from eight students and teacher Mary Jane Coker. On one side are nine paintings of owls, representing Shades Cahaba’s contribution. On the reverse, colorful images of flowers, fruit and sunshine surround a painted silhouette of the Vulcan statue. “Because it’s outside, it’s going to get worn down,” Gentry said. “[Coker] said, ‘I’m just going to keep this frame up here and when the art gets weathered, we can keep bringing more and more stuff up here to have a continual gallery.’ The kids realized that this strand of thread [from their canvas] could end up in a bird’s nest. I love that they got that that’s what we’re doing.” Although still a long way from completion, Gentry has set things in motion for the garden to become a community center. Somewhat limited in funding, Gentry has relied on volunteers to help get the young garden to its current state. Area Boy Scouts have chipped in, with one scout’s Eagle Scout service project resulting in an information guide structure, and another’s in the works to help create an outdoor classroom area in the garden.

Style Reborn for Home and Fashion

6801 Cahaba Valley Road (Hwy 119) 1/4 South of Hwy 280 205-980-4471

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love Homewood? The Homewood Star is always looking for contributors. Send your stories of the city to


Shades Cahaba Elementary students pose with the art they created for the Community Garden on the site of the former Homewood Middle School. Photo by Clayton Hurdle.

Homewood’s Public Works Department has helped, too. The department has begun rerouting its compost waste so that it now helps the garden have healthier soil instead of going to a landfill. “The city has had to pay to dump leaves in a landfill,” Gentry said. “I’m letting them dump here for free. So not only are they saving money, but they’re helping the garden, too.” Samford’s chief campus chef Chris Vizzina is in on the garden as well. Vizzina, known for working with local produce, has signed on to help Homewood City School cafeterias learn the art of cooking local, using produce grown in the community garden. “Most schools have a rule that you can’t grow your own food,” Gentry said. “For whatever

reason, we don’t have that rule. So we’re going to get Chris in here and feed the kids fresh, locally grown food.” Gentry wants to install environmentally friendly features such as solar panels and rain catchers throughout the garden, created by and for the community. “I don’t want one person installing them,” she said. “I want people to learn all about it, and that can’t happen if somebody just does it in a back corner somewhere.” Gentry’s number one goal for the garden is to be an area that brings every part of the community together. From wheelchairaccessible beds to school involvement to activities for seniors, she wants to make sure the garden is enjoyed by all.

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April 2013 • 7

Runs ‘round town Walk MS

April 13, Homewood

Homewood Runs and Walks “Get There and Share” Half Marathon & GRACERUNNER 4.13 Run/Walk

April 13, SoHo TEAM 413-GRACERUNNER, a ministry for endurance athletes named for Phillipians 4:13, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a run, walk, fellowship and worship. Proceeds will help expand TEAM 413. A “night before” share time with music and speakers, pre-race devotion and post-race celebration are planned. Registration prices increase periodically. Early start 6:30 a.m., wheelchair start 6:55 a.m., half marathon 7 a.m. and 4.13K 7:15 a.m. The event takes place at Homewood’s SoHo Plaza from 8:30 a.m.-noon. Visit or email

The National MS Society is holding its 25th annual 1, 2 or 3-mile walking event at Homewood Central Park, 1632 Oxmoor Road. This fundraising event is also designed to show support from the community for people with multiple sclerosis. There will be teams with creative T-shirts and tents, live entertainment, food and a wellness fair, rain or shine. Registration will be at 7:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. Last year, 1,000 participants raised $194,194. This year, the goal is to raise $205,000. There is no registration fee, but fundraising is encouraged. Participants receive a Walk MS T-shirt for raising $100 or more. Alternative plans will be provided via phone or email if it rains. Visit or, or email Amanda Burton at

Relay for Life

April 26, Homewood Central Park The annual Relay for Life fundraiser will be at Homewood Central Park. The fundraiser involves teams of 10 to 25 people taking turns walking or running around the track relay-style from 4 p.m. Friday evening until 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Each team member pays a $10 registration fee, and those who raise $100 or more will receive a Relay tTshirt. There will be a variety of activities throughout the night. The Survivor Lap will begin the fundraiser at 4 p.m. and the Luminaria Ceremony will begin after dark. There will be entertainment and games throughout the night. The goal is to raise $86,500. Visit or email kristi.lovell@


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Iron Warriors 5K Run

April 20, Lakeshore Greenway The Aerospace Booster Club’s first 5K run will be at Lakeshore Trail across from Samford University. The club supports and teaches cadets in Samford University’s Air Force ROTC about military customs, courtesies and traditions. Money raised will fund gun range trips, base visits, and Dining Out, the club’s annual formal ceremony that mimics an active duty banquet. There will be music, military physical fitness exercises and entertainment. The registration fee is $25. The club’s goal is to raise $3,000. The event begins at 8 a.m.

Kidney Foundation Birmingham Walk-a-Thon

May 4, Waldrop Stadium The Alabama Kidney Foundation Walka-Thon has been fundraising for more than 20 years to provide financial assistance, education and support services to kidney disease patients. Registration begins at 8:30 and the hour-long walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. The event will feature a DJ, children’s area with face painting, cotton candy, popcorn and inflatables, and prizes for best T-shirt and highest fundraiser. The Publix at Lee Branch will provide breakfast and lunch. Participants who raise $25 or more receive a Kidney Foundation T-shirt. The goal is to raise $200,000. All money raised goes to Alabama kidney patients in need. Visit

Dr. Alison Grizzle

Grizzle named BCS Teacher of the Year Dr. Alison Grizzle, a West Homewood resident and wife of The Homewood Star Publisher Dan Starnes, was named Secondary Teacher of the Year by Birmingham City Schools. Grizzle, a math teacher at Jackson-Olin High, will represent the district at the Alabama Teacher of the Year Competition. Grizzle graduated from Homewood High in 1993 and has been a Homewood resident since 2009. She has taught in Birmingham schools for 14 years. “I’m very honored to be representing Birmingham City Schools as one of the many great teachers in this system,” she said. “And I’m grateful to Homewood for all the support this community has provided. It’s where my roots are, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

8 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Hollywood Home Tour to feature renovated 1920s residences By MEGAN SMITH On April 27, 2011, lightning started a fire in the Hollywood home of Shannon and Steven Bakir. In the hours preceding the tornado outbreak, neighbors formed a line and helped save as much furniture, knick-knacks and memories as possible. The Bakirs and their three children, Halle, 11, Michael, 8 and Lila, 5 at the time, left the building safely. Unfortunately, the upstairs was damaged extensively, so the Bakirs gutted their home and renovated. This year, they are proud to be a stop on the Historic Hollywood Home Tour on April 28. Every other year, the Holly Oak Garden Club selects historic homes to feature for the event. “We’re really excited about being on the tour,” Shannon Bakir said, “because it gives back to the Homewood community and it gives back to the neighborhood.” Their home, 218 La Prado Place, was originally built in 1926. Architect Warren Kyle helped with a renovation in 2002 and again after the fire. With each renovation they were careful to maintain the historical integrity of the home and neighborhood. During the remodeling process, the Barkirs added features to enhance the fire safety of their home and to make their children feel safe moving back in. These features include a sprinkler system, lightning rods and a safe

The Bakir home is one of four homes on the Hollywood tour set for April 28.

room that can withstand F3 tornados. The other three homes on the tour were all built between 1925 and 1927 and have undergone similar extensive remodeling in the last 10 years: the Goodrich home, 300 Yorkshire Drive; Freeman home, 11 Bonita Drive; and the Beisher home, 224 Poinciana Ave. Lisa Freeman’s 1927 home on Bonita Drive was renovated two years ago. Her renovation encompassed the master bedroom and bath, kitchen, viewing room and front porch. Freeman said her main concern is having her spring garden planted in the small window of time after winter

but before the tour. The tour will take place April 28 from 1-4 p.m. Tickets will be available at any featured home the day of the tour for $17. Advance tickets are available at Hunter’s Cleaners, Harmony Landing, Arceneaux Gallery and Sweet Peas Garden Shop. Proceeds of the tour benefit the Holly Oak Garden Club’s maintenance of neighborhood public areas and Shades Cahaba Elementary. For more, visit, find Holly Oak Garden Club on Facebook, or follow the home tour on Instagram @hollywoodhometour.

Adoptive father from The Blind Side to speak at Scholarship Gala The Legacy League, an Auxiliary of Samford University, will host Sean Tuohy at its annual Scholarship Gala on Thursday, May 2 at Vestavia Country Club. Tuohy is the adoptive father of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager turned first-round NFL draft pick and now Superbowl champion. Tuohy will share the inspirational story, portrayed in the Academy Awardwinning movie The Blind Side, of how the Tuohys opened their home to Michael. Their love, stability and support proved to be life-changing, allowing Michael to graduate from Ole Miss while earning All-American honors along the way. While at Ole Miss himself, Tuohy was named all-SEC each of his four seasons and is the only basketball player in the history of the SEC to lead a statistical category for four years, which he did with assists. He also led the team to its first and only SEC championship in 1981. He has since become a successful entrepreneur, building a company that now owns and operates 70 fast food restaurants such as Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s. Tuohy is also in his 11th season as an NBA broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies and is still heavily involved in supporting several minority students at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis. Sean and his wife, Leigh Anne, have established The Making it Happen Foundation, a charity that promotes awareness, provides hope and improves standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in

Sean Touhy

the invisible cracks in society. The public is invited to meet and hear Sean Tuohy at the gala; reservations are required. Guests may attend the private reception starting at 6 p.m., followed by the gala dinner, for $125 per person, of which $72.50 is tax-deductible. Guests wishing to attend only the dinner, starting at 7 p.m., may do so for $75 per person, of which $37.50 is tax-deductible. Proceeds from the gala will go toward endowing a new scholarship to Samford University for students who have been adopted or are currently in foster care. For more information reservations (available online through April 25), go to For questions, call 726-2247.

April 2013 • 9


Spring trend report #2



By MEGAN SMITH Brighten your wardrobe with a short walk down 18th St. for the must-have items for the season. We found there was no need to leave the block to find pastels, lace, white and anything emerald. This season’s bold print dresses and leggings will definitely make a statement and contrast nicely with popular shades, muted or neon.

Pastel Accessories


These pale shades add a delicate touch of feminine charm to any wardrobe. Peach statement necklace, $26; cluster pastel bracelets, $26; Leather bracelet with gold accent, $18 from Pink Tulip.

Emerald Greens


Variations on Pantone’s color of the year add richness to any outfit. Sheer Sleeveless Versatile Kerisma Top, $64 from 28:20 Boutique.



Fancy Pants


From sultry and dark to light and sheer, this effeminate look will show just the right amount of skin. Coral and lace dress, $62 from Festivity.

Geometric, flower and animal — these prints can be dressed up or down to create a fun, bold look. Greta pocket palazzo pants, $84 from a.k.a. Girl Stuff.

Exclusive Provider in the Greater Birmingham Area

10 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Restaurant Showcase

Read past Restaurant Showcases at

Sam’s Deli & Grill

932 Oxmoor Road Edgewood 871-0383 Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

By ALLIE SAXON The palm trees and sunshine on Sam’s Deli & Grill’s sign tell the story of what you will find inside. Owned by a neighborhood family, the restaurant’s courtyard creates an instant backyard party for customers. Within its bright orange and yellow walls are patio furniture for sitting and pop and rock music playing that makes you feel like you are on vacation, even if for a brief moment. So it makes sense that, come spring weather, the 10-year-old restaurant is popular for birthday parties, graduation parties, or even just lunch break “parties” with groups of coworkers. Sam’s staff of four welcomes customers with a smile, even though most of them work at the restaurant 14 hours a day. “The relationships with my customers makes my business so unique,” owner Sam Daibes said. “I’ve known people when they were 3 years old who now are in high school. I’ve experienced people passing away and have seen familiar customers go through divorce, and even though those are not good things, I feel like having such personal relationships is what makes my business so enjoyable.” The menu at Sam’s is a mix of Mediterranean and American favorites. You will find cheeseburgers and chicken fingers alongside chicken kabobs and falafel, and you

Sam’s owner Sam Daibes serves up quick food with Mediterranean flair like the Lamb Gyro and Chicken Special served pita, hummus, wild rice and a salad. Photos by Allie Saxon.

can get either with a side of fries or baba ganoush. Although Daibes is from Jordan, his favorite menu item is all-American: the MushroomSwiss Burger. Plates of gyro meat, kebabs, kafta or other meats are served with fruit, hummus, wild rice and salad. Gyros and other sandwiches are also popular. And everything comes at a price tag under $11. For

dessert, there’s Baklava and other Mediterranean pastries. Sam’s is also known for its omelets at breakfast time. Daibes moved to the U.S. from Jordan at age 18 to go to college at Gadsden State Community College, where he studied English. He finished his degree at the University of Alabama-Huntsville before ending up in Homewood, more specifically

The Art of Dentistry

Edgewood. There he worked his way to become manager at Moneer’s restaurant, which was located in Sam’s current storefront. When Moneer’s closed, Daibes decided it was time to open his own place. Business was slow at first, but Daibes never gave up hope. Eventually, Sam’s became the neighborhood staple it is today — and he is quick to credit

the community for his success. He could not have done it without those who have been around since day one, he said. In the future, Sam’s plans to start delivery service for the surrounding area and a menu with daily special items. But likely the friendly staff and the hospitable “backyard” they create should welcome Edgewood residents for decades to come.

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April 2013 • 11

Homewood Happenings Businesses opening, Brookdale Senior growing Fashion in a truck Evelyn Wood and her husband are opening a new business in Homewood, the Fashion Truck. The women’s boutique will travel the greater Birmingham area in a van. “We will also be going to local events like 5K races, farmers markets, food truck events, and anything else in the greater Birmingham area,” said owner Evelyn Wood. A “track the truck” feature online will show a calendar of planned events and parking spots. The truck will stay in the same place for no more than one day. Anyone can “host” the truck for $50 per hour, and the host may earn Truck Bucks based on guest spending, up to $200. The business will open with a launch party April 5 at Oak Hill. The first 15 customers will receive coupons. Visit to shop online or to track the truck.

Candlewood Suites open on Lakeshore Candlewood Suites has opened a new location off Lakeshore Parkway. Suites include fully equipped kitchens, recliners and a free movie library. The Candlewood Cupboard

provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The hotel also provides guests with a free fitness center and free guest laundry. Candlewood’s newest addition, the Lending Locker, is also featured at the location. Guests can borrow common household items such as blenders and board games. Boasting 81 suites, Candlewood Suites is located at 400 Commons Drive. Call 877-226-3539 for more.

New running training center Running coach Alex Morrow has opened a new athletic training center focused on training runners of all levels in downtown Homewood. Resolute Running Training Center provides group classes including Runner’s Bar, Yoga for Runners, Core on the Floor and Runner’s Hips. The center also offers one-on-one training plans for interested runners. All programs seek to provide strength and conditioning for runners that will help prevent injuries. The center has a partnership with The Muscle Joint owner Sherrie Hafley, whose office is located inside. Hafley, a massage therapist, is also a personal trainer and can provide sports massages. Owner Alex Morrow is the vice president of Birmingham Track Club.

The center offers four monthly packages ranging from $120-350 as well as an ala cart menu for coaching, fitness classes and personal training. Resolute Running is located behind Little Professor at 2709 Mamie L. Foster. For more call 4923670 or visit

Brookdale Senior Living Community to expand On March 5, the Homewood City Council passed a resolution supporting the expansion of Brookdale Place at University Park. According to Carey McRae, a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Brookdale currently has three plans available apartments for residents: independent living, no health component; assisted living, some medical care; and special care assisted living, care for people with dementia or cognitive impairment. The goal for the expansion is to add a fourth plan, skilled nursing. This would include a nursing home, McRae said, but it would also be for people needing shortterm rehabilitation such as recovery from knee or hip replacement. A Certificate of Need must be obtained before operations begin.

ChamberChat As a part of a new column, The Homewood Star talked with Homewood Chamber of Commerce President Steve Preston to find out what’s new with Homewood businesses. Preston is the vice president of external affairs for Brookwood Medical Center. What Chamber events are coming up? Of course our monthly luncheons are very popular, and we pride ourselves on providing programs that benefit businesses and the community at large. Our April luncheon will feature Dr. Robert Robicheaux, professor and chairman of marketing, industrial distribution and economics at UAB. One of our most popular events, the Excellence In Education luncheon, is coming up in May. The Chamber partners with the Homewood City Schools to feature a particular area of the curriculum. This year’s focus will be the music program, and the percussion ensemble will perform. Six outstanding students, one from each school will be honored, and the outstanding Homewood High School student will receive a college scholarship. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Thomas Bice has been invited to be the guest speaker. What is one of your favorite Homewood businesses? Little Professor Book Center is one of my favorite stores. Paul Seitz has owned and operated it in downtown Homewood since 1973. Baseball is his first love, having played 10 years in the Minor Leagues including a four-year stint with the Birmingham Barons. He has told me

Steve Preston

time and again that his wonderful customers are the key to his success. I asked him if he would choose the same career again, and he said, “Absolutely.” Why do you buy local? I enjoy the added service and attention to details that I receive shopping at many of the small proprietor owned businesses in Homewood. Many of these shops have been a part of the Homewood community for many years and still cater to their loyal customers. Why did you get involved in the Chamber? Brookwood Medical Center is a proud corporate citizen of Homewood, and we feel an obligation to be active in this wonderful community. Serving in my second term as president of the chamber, I am very pleased with our accomplishments. I believe the chamber is a vital part of the economic health of the community. Also, my daughter Bailey is at Homewood Middle School student, my son Brett graduated from Homewood High School, and I received my MBA from Samford University — we love Homewood!

12 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Homewood Schools Showcase

HCS superintendent concerned about Accountability Act By MADOLINE MARKHAM

The Homewood City Schools Foundation showed off artwork, music groups, clubs and more at the Showcase event at Homewood Middle School on March 12. This annual event, which is open to the public, brings the Homewood community, parents, teachers and students together for one night to celebrate what makes the school system so special. The evening began with a performance by the Homewood City Schools’ Percussion Spectacular, made up of 150 students from all five schools. Following this musical presentation, parents were able to visit a host of hands-on demonstrations in art, math and science led by Homewood faculty. – Photos by Madoline Markham (Above) Homewood Middle School Peer Helpers. (Left) Homewood Middle School Jazz Band. (Below left) HallKent second grader Cannon Delionback shows his artwork to his family.

Homewood City Schools Superintendent Bill Cleveland predicts his office will receive hundreds of phone calls from people in Birmingham wanting to know how to enroll in Homewood schools. HCS received nine such calls in the week before the Alabama Accountability Act was signed into law by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley in March. The school choice section of the bill, located on page 18, section 5, states that a parent of a student in a failing school may enroll the student and transport the student to a nonfailing school that has available space and that is willing to accept the student.* “We believe this law has very vague language, and we encourage our leaders to add clarification to keep systems out of litigation,” Cleveland said in a statement. During a meeting at Homewood Middle School two days before the bill was signed into law, Cleveland voiced concern that if it passed Homewood City Schools could be adversely affected by an influx of new students that they are not prepared for. School system attorney Donald Sweeney found the terms “space” and “willing” in the section vague and cautioned Cleveland that they could be interpreted in a way that forces Homewood to accept students who live outside the city. “We function by a strategic plan developed by the community,” Cleveland said to crowd of around 100 at the meeting. “If we can’t plan how many students we will receive, we might not meet our academic goals. We might hire too many or too little teachers.” Before the bill was signed, HCS contacted Sen. Jabo Waggoner, Rep. Paul DeMarco and Gov. Robert Bentley’s Chief of Staff David Perry to express concerns with the ambiguity of language in this section of the bill.

“The only one that gets this is Paul DeMarco,” Cleveland said at the meeting. “We need this language strengthened.” DeMarco said he added clarifying language to version 7 of the legislation that is not present in the version, number 8, that passed, which reads: “Nothing in this act shall be construed to force any school, whether public or nonpublic, to enroll any student.” “We are aware that Rep. Paul DeMarco will introduce legislation that will include language that was in the original bill and was left out of the final version,” Cleveland said in a statement. Cleveland encouraged residents to reach out to state leaders to ask them to support version 7 of House Bill 84 and Senate Bill 360, the versions he believes will protect Homewood schools. Homewood City Schools is checking on whether the bill would allow them to charge tuition to students who live outside the district, if the tuition could include sales tax, and if the system’s current regulation that students must be a resident of Homewood would affect application of the bill. *Full wording of Alabama House Bill 84, page 18, section 5: “The parent of a student enrolled in or assigned to a school that has been designated as a failing school, as an alternate to paragraph b. of subdivision (4), may choose to enroll the student in and transport the student to a nonfailing public school that has available space in any other local school system in the state, and that local school system is willing to accept the student on whatever terms and conditions the system establishes and report the student for purposes of the local school system’s funding pursuant to the Foundation Program.”

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April 2013 • 13

School House

Bringing World War II history to life Two World War II veterans spoke to Homewood Middle School sixth graders about their involvement in the War. Eugene Brabston, grandfather of sixth graders Campbell Brabston and Mary Jane Rose, was in the Navy during WWII and fought in the Pacific Theater at Okinawa, Iwo Jima and the Philippines. Vincent Carnaggio, Marcus Reynolds’ grandfather, was in the Navy and enlisted when he was only 15 years old. The students were also able to see footlockers full of artifacts from the war through Operation Footlocker program from the National World War II Museum. The program sends military footlockers filled with WWII artifacts to schools across the nation. Some artifacts spurred very inquisitive questions and discussions about why the item was needed, how it was used and why it was made of

Sixth grade teacher Darby Wesson, Mary Jane Rose, Eugene Brabston and Campbell Brabston.

such material. Students used their devices to take pictures, videos, and to write reports on the investigation. The class began the World War II unit WWII unit by bringing in information and pictures of family members that served in WWII. They

combined all the photos in a video using the iPad iMovie app, including recordings of themselves telling about family members in their own voices. The presentation was then displayed on the learning wall for the rest of the school to see.

HHS student attends Presidential Inauguration Homewood High School junior Miller Williams braved the huge crowd and cold temperatures in Washington, D.C. to attend the second term Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama in January. “I have become very interested in government and public policy, so it was an incredible experience to witness an amazing piece of history first-hand.” Miller said. “It was truly the experience of a lifetime witnessing the greatest transition of power in the world.” Miller worked in D.C. last summer for Senator Richard Shelby, who gave him the Inauguration tickets. He attended the event with his parents, Scott and Laura Williams of Homewood. Miller Williams in Washington, DC.

HMS’s Nalls wins alumni award

Obstacle races raise school funds

Homewood Middle School Principal Dr. Martin Nalls was chosen for the Nathalie Molton Gibbons Alumni Achievement Award at the University of Montevallo. The purpose of this award is to recognize an alumnus whose contributions, through career or community service, reflect positively on society at the local, state or national level. Dr. Nalls was recognized during the university’s Homecoming Awards Luncheon.

Shades Cahaba Elementary School students enjoyed their first Owlmazing Race on Feb. 15. Physical education teachers, along with PTO parents, planned a day of obstacle races that included not only physical exercises but also academic trivia during the students’ PE classes. Each class chose a name and a “look,” such as a bandana, a special colored shirt or hat. The school raised more than $22,000 through donations. Shades Cahaba students during the Owlmazing Race.

Dr. Martin Nalls




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14 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

A record Homewood turnout for the Mercedes The Mercedes Marathon was a districtwide event in Homewood this year. Motivated by Homewood City Schools Wellness Coordinator Nivada Spurlock, 126 faculty and staff members ran sporting their “We Are The M Class” gear. HCS helped by preparing bags, volunteering at water stations, making relay signs and handing out hats at the finish line. This the largest participation HCS has had in the event. “If it wasn’t for Nivada’s motivation, a lot of us wouldn’t be able to run and participate at this event,” HCS employee Merrick Wilson said. “She has changed so many of our lifestyles by showing us that fitness is fun, especially when you have your coworkers there with you to keep you motivated and pushing on.” – Submitted by Homewood City Schools

Hall-Kent Elementary School employees participated in Mercedes Marathon. Front row: Leah Chancellor, Becky Salls, Cynthia Padgett, Katie Wallace, Kati Hale, Dana Parrish. Second row: Stephanie Williams, Katherine Davis, Maggie Serota, Jill Walden, Gina Dorough. Third row: Leigh Martin, Ellen Greer, Molly Mitchell, Abby Becker. Fourth row: Nan Williams, Brandi Koonce, Natalie Kerr, Stephanie Brant. Back row: Ellen Maple, Elizabeth Mayfield, Dominique Prince. Not pictured: Abbie Freeman.

Re-enacting the Oregon Trail

Celebrating Black History

As a part of their study about pioneer life and the Oregon Trail, third graders at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School reenacted a day on the Oregon Trail. Their activities included such things as budgeting play money to purchase items needed for their adventure, making homemade butter and biscuits (and eating them), playing a specialized computer game, learning how to tool leather, writing letters with wax seals, and square dancing. Front row: Carolyn Rayford, Keonna Wicks and Maggie Williams. Back row: John Dedrick, Anthony Broach, Genesis Barco, Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, Madison Collins and Phelecia Knight.

Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson spoke to the Homewood High School students and faculty during the Homewood High

School Black History Program, produced and organized by Carolyn Rayford. Roberson is a 1991 graduate of HHS.

Mountain Brook Art Association

Front row: Abigail Pugh, Ann Louise Chamoun, and Konnor Carrie. Second row: Max McGwin, Blake Mize, Millie Yerkes. Back row: Nicholas Elliott and Weston Myers.

Rained-out makeup day: Sunday April 21, 12:00 - 5:00

April 2013 • 15

Should student’s be allowed off campus passes during school hours? The Homewood Star Special Series:

Homewood High School’s Debate Team Gives you both sides of the issue PRO:

We affirm the resolution that students should be allowed to obtain off-campus passes during school hours. Contention 1: Off-campus passes would provide students with the opportunity to choose what foods they eat for lunch. There may be students who have certain dietary needs or preferences that the school simply cannot accommodate. Currently, there are many vegetarians in the school system who have limited options in choosing what to eat for lunch. Off-campus passes would remedy this problem and provide nutritional variety for students. Contention 2: Off-campus passes can be used as an incentive and motivator for students to earn good grades, make wise choices and maintain exceptional behavior. We suggest the following criteria for students who wish to obtain an offcampus pass: ff Must be in grades 10-12 ff Must have a valid driver’s license ff Must maintain a 3.2 minimum GPA Students with a Class II offense or higher would immediately forfeit the possibility of earning an off-campus pass. Because of these parameters, students would feel motivated to maintain their

Homewood High School’s Debate Team.

grades and avoid decisions that may get them into trouble. Contention 3: Off-campus passes will also help students manage their time and responsibilities. There is usually a positive correlation between students who are responsible and students who earn high grades. If a student leaves for lunch with an off-campus pass, he or she has 25 minutes to eat lunch and return to school. If students fail to properly manage his or her time, he or she will suffer the consequences and lose the privilege of leaving campus during the day. Thus, students learn the importance of managing their time

and shouldering the responsibility for their actions. Because providing off-campus passes to students will provide lunch options for students with specific dietary needs, incentivize students to earn good grades and teach students the importance of personal responsibility, we urge you to vote pro.


We negate the resolution that students should be allowed to obtain off-campus passes during school hours.

Contention 1: Off-campus passes are not beneficial because they are too expensive and hard to enforce; guards would need to be hired to enforce the proper use of off-campus passes. Also, Homewood High School has many entrances that would have to be guarded. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that security guards earned an average annual wage of $26,870. That money could be used to buy new books and enhance students’ learning experiences. Contention 2: Another issue with off-campus passes is that learning is limited and/or compromised when a student is out of school using his or

her pass. A student should be in the classroom learning in an academic environment during school hours. A student with an off-campus pass might leave before a test, thereby avoiding the assessment. This gives students with passes an advantage over other students because they may have extra days to study or benefit from other students’ tips and feedback. Contention 3: During school hours, the school is responsible for the actions and whereabouts of its students. If a student were to steal, get in a fight, or engage in other illegal activities while off campus, the school is responsible for those actions. The Office of Justice has evidence to show that violent crime is at its highest during the school day. Off-campus passes are therefore a liability to the school. In summary, we negate the aforementioned resolution because off-campus passes are expensive and would require additional security, they limit students’ learning, they could enable students to cheat, and the school would be held responsible for students’ actions while offcampus. Providing off-campus passes to Homewood High School students would create problems rather than enhance students’ learning experience.

Style Reborn for Home and Fashion Tammy Heinss and Kathy McMahon are self-proclaimed “junkers.” They travel the country, wherever the next treasure hunt takes them. On their most recent trip to Dallas, the friends came home with a U-Haul truck full of old barn wood, doors and other materials, their heads brainstorming up idea after idea of how to reclaim and transform their new treasures into furnishings with new life. It’s their creativity and creations that are at the heart of a newly expanded Renaissance Consignment & Marketplace. Renaissance has consigned clothing, formal dresses, designer handbags and more for four years, but in January the store nearly doubled its size and expanded its inventory to include both new and gently used home furnishings and accessories. The newly expanded 9,000-squarefoot space intermingles furniture with clothing and home accessories with jewelry. “The home and the closet are two very important things,” said Heinss, the store’s visual merchandising manager who is armed with experience as an interior decorator. “They mold together perfectly and

are able to provide in two important areas of life. I don’t know anywhere else that is doing something like this. We are like an Anthropologie on steroids.” When she and McMahon, the owner, walk around their new space in the former Cantina location, they beam with excitement as they explain how even their displays demonstrate their concept of “style reborn.” Each piece is a conversation piece in itself. The sides of the large desk in the center are made of molding from a 150-year-old house and tin siding from Cantina. For its countertop, McMahon took the original varnished finish down to natural wood with what McMahon calls her “weapons” — wooden pieces with nails or a chain to “beat up” the wood — and then whitewashed it before removing the paint. The lighting above the desk is a combination of glass chandeliers and old industrial domes from Germany. Display boxes on the right have given new life to old fence wood, and old rake parts hold jewelry. On another display old clothes pins display rings. It’s all part of a “rustic luxe” look

6801 Cahaba Valley Road (Hwy 119) 1/4 South of Hwy 280

Tammy Heinss and Kathy McMahon have led Renaissance’s expansion into home décor retail.

that Heinss and McMahon are trying to achieve. “We want elegant beauty that is luxurious yet mingled with a rustic, reclaimed vibe,” McMahon said. In addition to the floor space, Renaissance has a covered outdoor area in the back that holds reclaimed “treasures” like rustic wood old doors in their raw state that are available for sale. They also have 2,500-square-foot

show room with furniture, accessories and salvage material nearby that can be shown by appointment. Even with their bubbling passion for home décor, the duo are just as eager to talk about Renaissance’s selection of clothing and accessories, attesting to how it is a “one stop shop” for both fashion and interiors. Experts in outfit consultation are on staff just as are freelance decorators. Upstairs in the consignment formal department, one of the largest in the Southeast, a staff member has a background in pageant coaching and judging.

Much of their clothing is consigned from high end boutiques so that items are on the rack discounted but still have their original tags. Two of 12 staff members are dedicated to social media; the business does much of their sales online, not just in the store. “[Renaissance is] a great thing for the community because you can buy great things for a good price, and you can recycle things as well,” Heinss said. If you are interested in consigning home furnishings or accessories, email pictures of items to tammy@


16 • April 2013

The Homewood Star


Patriots basketball teams finish season area champs, runner-up The Homewood Patriots varsity basketball teams continued their winning traditions by finishing strong this season. The Patriots boys, coached by Tim Shepler, won the 5A Area 9 Championship and finished with a 26-7 record. Their season ended in a thrilling 46-44 overtime loss in the state sub regional where the Patriots were down by 16 at the half. Seniors Kelvin Bradford, Michael Lummis, CT Mizerany and Zack Johnson led the Patriots this season. The Lady Patriots, coached by JoVanka Ward, finished the season with a 14-13 record as the 5A Area 9 Runner-up. With no seniors on this year’s team, the Lady Patriots excelled through the leadership and play of Kiara Williams, Alex Studdard, Kelly Young, Anna Frierson and Sara Blake. Looking to be even stronger next season, Coach Ward and the Lady Patriots look to be one of the state’s top teams.

Front row: Malik Cook, Dwayne Orso, Kelvin Bradford, Owen Ferguson, Michael Lummis, Devonta Barnfield, Miller Williams, Stan Mizerany and CT Mizerany. Back row: Coach Josh Britnell, Coach Kent Jackson, Head Coach Tim Shepler, Parker Smith, EJ Williams, Will Walker, Nat Thompson, Zack Johnson, Tyler Simmons, Sean Eaton, John Yarbrough, Coach Fred Martiniere and Coach Rick Baguley. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Shields.

Front row: Anna Frierson, Dejane’ Hester-Taylor, Jaylon Underwood, Maiyah Lee, Kiara Williams and Alex Stuudard. Back row: Coach LaToya PowellPearson, Head Coach JoVanka Ward, Kelly Young, Maya Cook-Stroupe, Alex Dalton, Sarah Blake, Taylor Swinton, Coach Lenny Passink and Coach Megan Laney. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Shields.

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April 2013 • 17

Rivers signs with Calhoun College

Homewood senior Conner Rivers signed with Calhoun Community College on Wednesday, Jan. 30. He is pictured with Calhoun head coach Mike Burns, Homewood head coach Doug Gann and his parents, Chip and Cynthia.

Senior pitcher and third baseman Conner Rivers recently signed a commitment to play for Calhoun Community College. Conner is a two-year varsity baseball player for Homewood High School. He was named to

the Rawlings pre-season All American Team, Under Armour pre-season All American Team and Perfect Game BCS All Tournament Team after spending the summer with the East Cobb Astros of Atlanta.

HHS baseball looking for strong finish to season By NATHAN KELLY Homewood High Head Baseball Coach Doug Gann has led his team to a successful season thus far in 2013. The team of 12 seniors blazed through the first half of its season winning 14 of its 15 games. The remainder of the season looks bright for the Patriots, but winning the right games at the right time is what Gann is concerned with most. “I’ve seen even the most talented teams get too big headed by the end of the season and don’t finish strong,” Gann said. “The success we’ve had so far is great, but the most important thing I tell my guys is to not let it go to their heads and stay motivated on our goals.” Gann emphasized that it’s too early to start thinking about playoffs since the goal from the beginning of the season was just to get there. If the Patriots play consistently with how

they’ve started the season, reaching that goal shouldn’t be an issue. The only weakness Gann is concerned with is his team has shown a lapse at times defensively, he said. Other than that, the Patriots are solid across the board. Homewood is averaging eight runs a game on offense and is led by a stingy pitching staff with Conner Rivers who signed a letter of intent to play baseball with Calhoun Community College. Gann said team members have high expectations for themselves, and even though he harps on staying motivated, they know what they are capable of this season. The rest of the season is full of important regional games for the Patriots. The team, Gann called one of his most talented groups he’s ever coached, will need to keep it up to have a shot to bring home the state trophy.

Football players honored

Mark Rawls, Justin Hardy, Zach Sims and Jay Williams. Luke Porter was unable to attend.

Five Homewood Patriot football players were honored at the 2012 Pat Patrick – Best High School Football Awards dinner in January. Pat Patrick hosts a weekly radio show, “The Best In High School Football” on WYDE FM 101.1 each Friday at 6 p.m. The keynote speaker was UAB head football

coach Garrick McGee. HHS honorees were Luke Porter, Justin Hardy, Mark Rawls, Jay Williams and Zach Sims were among the more than 30 Birmingham area honorees. Zach Sims was awarded the 2012 Pat Patrick Buffalo Wild Wings Honoree of the Year.

18 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

HOMEWOOD PARKS & RECREATION Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Programs and services from Homewood Community Center are now located at our temporary facility which is the site of the former Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse, 809 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, AL 35209. Services at this facility include cardio & weight rooms, programs room for fitness and instructional classes, and administrative offices.

Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Hours Monday – Thursday: 5:30am – 8:30pm Friday: 5:30am – 7:00pm Saturday: 8:00am – 6:00pm Sunday: 1:00pm – 6:00pm Business Office Hours Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 5:45pm


ZUMBA is Latin inspired aerobic dance and every class feels like a party. ZUMBA is for all ages, and both sexes! You can burn 500 to 1000 calories in one fun hour! Instructor: Camille Scruggs Contact Info: 256-452-2500 or camillescruggs@ Location: Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility Days & Times: Monday 5:30-6:30pm Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm Thursday 5:30-6:30pm Saturday 9:00-10:00am


Classes are held at the Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility at various times based on age and level of experience. Monthly tuition is $55 - $65. Classes are for children and teenagers ages 4 and up. For more information please contact Master Joe at 966-4244

Belly Dancing with Aziza

Class Location: Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility Class Fee: $60 cash only For more information contact Aziza at 8790701 or Learn the ancient art of Middle Eastern belly dance (classic Egyptian style) with Aziza, award winning dancer, with 36 years of experience in performance and instruction. Women only, ages 13 and up are welcome; with no dance experience necessary to enroll. Each session is 5-weeks long on: Tuesday night for beginners, Wednesday night for intermediates and Thursday night for advanced. Times times are 7:00-8:30pm. Beginners start with the basic steps, isolations and shimmies and progress to the intermediate class where you will learn to put the dance together with more advanced steps and combinations plus dancing with the veil; advanced classes include performing with zills, cane, veil with more advanced and longer performances. The classes are for anyone who wants to dance for fun and fitness, as well as those who wish to perform. Aziza has trained dancers to perform for many events in the Southeastern area in addition to dancers who perform regularly at Ali Baba Persian Restaurant in Hoover.


Kindermusik As the world’s recognized leader in early childhood music and movement, Kindermusik offers a musical learning adventure that will impact your child now and for years to come! This is accomplished through our extraordinary classroom experience and unsurpassed At Home materials. There’s simply no better way to foster your child’s love of music and love of learning. Classes are available for ages 0 to 5 years. Classes Offered & Schedule: Thursdays 9:30am - Our Time (18 months to 3 years) 10:30am - Our Time (18 months to 3 years) 11:30am - Village (0 to 18 months) Classes have relocated to the Homewood Parks Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility. You can enroll for classes at anytime! For more information call or email Kelly at: (205) 552-6129 (or) Kelly.alligood@charter. net Please visit http://kellyalligood.yourvirtuoso. com for more information or to enroll

Children’s Ballet with Claire Goodhew

Your child can be a fairy, a princess or a butterfly while keeping ballet traditions alive and having fun with classical music. The beginning ballet moves taught are the important foundation for many types of dance. The French names for steps will be introduced. Students will work on coordination, balance, rhythm and flexibility while developing listening skills and strengthening muscles. The environment provided is a happy and age appropriate one. Claire has been teaching ballet since starting as a teenager in Montgomery. Then, after moving to Birmingham, she started teaching with Birmingham Ballet. She has taught preschoolers in Mother’s Day Out and Day Care as well. Girls may wear any color leotard and tights for class, with pink ballet shoes. Classes meet once a week on Monday. Times & Location: Monday 3:45pm-4:30pm / Homewood Parks Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility Please contact Claire to enroll or for additional Information: (205) 879-8780

Young Rembrandts

Draw amazing things with Young Rembrandts! We believe that drawing is a skill that can, and should be learned by all children. Young Rembrandts classes are both fun and educational, and our step-by-step curriculum is developed to teach fundamental art skills in a nurturing environment that gives children an academic advantage. Our weekly classes are for boys and girls 5 to 12 years of age. Classes have relocated to Homewood Parks Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility. All new lessons monthly and each year! Please contact Chris Roberson at (205) 9431923 for more information and to register or visit to enroll anytime. Wednesdays, 3:30pm – 4:30pm Enroll anytime! $40 monthly

Homewood Senior Center Evening Dance

Carol Downey Duo will provide the music. Date & Time: Friday, April 26, Evening Dance 6:30pm - 9:30pm Costs: Senior Center Members $5; Non-members $10; ages 55 & up. Please call and place your reservation: 332-6500

City Wide Special Events We Love Homewood Day 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013 Save the date & come celebrate Homewood! For additional information please visit:


Homewood Youth Cheerleading

HYC are a dynamic group of girls who are excited to cheer for the Homewood Youth Football League. HYC is a community cheerleading program for girls in grades 1st through 6th who live in Homewood and/or attend Homewood Schools. The girls are organized into 5 squads by grade level – 1st & 2nd grades cheer together, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades have individual squads. Please visit our website for more information: www.homewoodyouthcheerle

Adult Softball

Coed and Men’s Leagues

An organizational meeting for the 2013 Adult Softball League will be held April 11th – 6:00pm at the Temporary Fitness & Program Facility (809 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, AL – Former Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse). All participants must be 19 years or older. If you are interested in participating in one of these leagues at Homewood Park you must attend this meeting and have your registration money at this time. Games will be played at West Homewood Park fields. The minimum number of teams is 7, the maximum is 9. Fee includes officials, trophies and tournament play. Play begins in June. For information contact Jakob Stephens: 332-6709 (or) jakob.stephens@

Summer Pool Information

Homewood Swim Team

Homewood Swim Team is not a learn to swim program but no experience is necessary. Swimmers compete against other swimmers with the same age and times during the meets. Children who are ready to compete, ages 5 – 18, will be divided into groups- older (more experienced) and younger (less experienced). We compete through the Jefferson County Swim League (JCSC) against other teams from our area. Unfortunately at submission deadline for April Homewood Star information all registration procedure has not been finalized. Please check www. for the most up to date information.

2013 Swim Lessons

Class Information (All Classes will be held at West Homewood Park Pool) Registration begins Monday, April 15, 2013 Swim Lessons are offered through the Homewood Recreation Swim Program. The instruction is provided by the Certified Lifeguard staff. The main objectives of the classes are to teach kids to be “water safe.” Each class session is two weeks long, meeting every day (Monday – Friday) of the two week period. The classes are limited to only 24 children per group per session. Please do not ask for adjustments to the controlled number of participants. Registration must be completed at the Temporary Fitness & Program Facility Business Office (Monday-Friday 8am-5:30pm) and continues until all sessions are full. We offer beginner and intermediate classes.

Swim Lesson Fees Homewood Parks and Recreation (FullFamily Member): $25 per child per twoweek session Non-member Homewood residents: $40 per child for two-week session Non Homewood resident: $50 per child for two-week session For additional information about dates of sessions and descriptions of skill levels please visit: For more information please contact Jakob Stephens at 332-6709

2013 Pool Memberships

Purchase and Renew Pool Only Membershipsat The Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Business Office 809 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, AL 35209 (Former Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse) Homewood Residents: $75 Single-$125 Family Non-Residents: $150 Single- $250 Family Membership Notes: West Homewood Pool will be the only pool open for 2013 Summer Pool Season All memberships will expire at conclusion of 2013 pool season (Labor Day) Pool membership prices will begin prorating June 15th

April 2013 • 19

U11 boys play in tournaments The U-11 Homewood Eagles soccer team placed second in the Vestavia Invitational Tournament held at Sicard Hollow at Liberty Park on Feb. 23-24. The team came in second, losing in the finals to Vestavia 1-0. The same weekend, the Homewood U-11

Liberty boys’ soccer team participated in the Eastern Shore Premier Cup in Daphne. Teams from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana participated in this tournament. For more information on Homewood Soccer Club, visit

The U-11 Homewood Eagles. Front row: DeJuan Holyfield, Hudson Wingo, Jack Giffin, Clay Guerrera, Brennan Garrett, Ethan Strand. Back row: Blake Busby, Jeffrey Neville, Will Sutton, Carter Zadick, Coach Matt Neil. Not pictured: Bernard Burnell.

Homewood’s U-11 Liberty Team participated in the Eastern Shore Premier Cup.

Patriots wrestlers qualify for the state tournament The Homewood High School Wrestling team finished in fourth place in the 5A Section 1 Tournament in February. Nine Patriots qualified for the state tournament, the most to qualify in seven years. State qualifiers are: Zach Sims - Sectional Champion; Noah Crocker - first runner-up, Jaquan Barber - first runner-up; Eathan

Harris - first runner-up, Kewaan Kennedy - fourth place; Aaron Avery - fourth place; Chase Kelly - fourth place; Joe King - fourth place; and Jared Melby - fourth place. Coach Eddie Crocker said he is proud of the success of his team, and he gave credit to Homewood High School faculty and administration for their growth.

Jared Melby, Jaquan Barber, Noah Crocker, Aaron Avery, Zach Sims, Chase Kelly, Joe King, Eathan Harris and Kewaan Kennedy.

The Power to Perform

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20 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Hall-Kent first grader dreams


By ALLIE SAXON Aidan Cockrell’s 28-inch stature has no effect on his passion for sports. Due to his achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism, he has endured two brain surgeries, a cerebral shunt stomach surgery and tubes in both ears, and he will eventually have to get a brace for one of his legs. But don’t let his medical condition fool you. Aidan’s ever-growing knowledge of sports and dedication on the field has wowed many people. His doctors ask questions that even older sports fanatics would not know during his check-ups. Aidan can tell you the number of each player in college and major league football and baseball. The Hall-Kent Elementary first grader has read six AR books about sports in the last few months. “I have a dream to be a Major League Baseball star,” he said. At a University of GeorgiaUniversity of Florida SEC Playoff baseball game, one of the Georgia baseball players threw him a ball and gave him his own personal hat after the game. At that moment, Aidan knew that instead of just watching sports, he want to play them first hand. His mom was cautious due to his past surgeries, but she allowed him to play T-ball, basketball and soccer. His most memorable play was a home run in T-ball game. He cannot play football because the contact sport could interfere with his shunt, but he would love to play hockey one day. Once, Aidan’s basketball teammates blamed for losing a game, but Aidan

“That is what is so remarkable about Aidan — he never lets little things get in the way of what he truly loves to do.” – Alecia Cockrell Aidan’s mother

Aidan smiles for the camera after winning a t-ball game. Photo courtesy of Alecia Cockrell.

him remained dedicated. He did not say any negative things but instead went back home and practiced until he got better. “That is what is so remarkable about Aidan — he never lets little things get in the way of what he truly loves to do,” said Alecia, Aidan’s mother. Back in his hometown of Quitman, Miss., Aidan struggled to find acceptance. When

“Dude, What’s Up?” Why Teens Think the Way They Do.

An interactive lecture with Psychiatrist Mark Westfall M.D. Thurs. May 9 6-8 pm Homewood Public Library Register at

heading to the local gym to apply for T-ball, the woman told Aidan that he could not play because it was a four years and older team, yet the signs read three years and older. Aidan’s mother drove him 12 miles to the next town and signed him up there. He was the star of the team, and the coach even favored Aidan over his own grandchild on the team. “People have picked on him for his size in

the past, but he does not get angry,” Alecia said. “He just stands up for himself and lets it ride off his shoulders and that is extremely admirable.” Two years ago, Aidan and Alecia moved to Homewood to be closer to his doctors, and he has been playing Homewood leagues ever since. “I take queues from him,” Alecia said. “Even still being an adult, we can learn from children.”

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April 2013 • 21

What to know about

allergy season we believe that environmental factors are the most likely explanation. These include lifestyle factors such as changes in our diet and reduction in physical activity, as well as improved hygiene and fewer parasitic infections.

By ALLIE SAXON The Homewood Star talked with Dr. Meghan Lemke, who is board-certified in allergy and clinical immunology and works for Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center, about what you should know for allergy season this year.

Do you believe that exposure to germs will help fight off other infections against allergies?

What are some specific things that contribute to allergies in Alabama? The most common allergy culprits we test for include dust mites, various molds, cat and dog dander, cockroaches, and pollen. We test pollens specifically from trees, grass and weed pollen. These are a few of the leading contributors here in Alabama that are due to our long growing season and lush terrain.

Can allergy symptoms including common itchy eyes and sneezing be more than just the typical symptoms? Yes, sneezing and itchy eyes are only the “tip of the iceberg.” For children particularly, allergies are associated with sleep disturbance, impaired school performance and overall decrease in quality of life. Other issues include sinus infections, migraine headaches and asthma flare-ups, just to name a few.

Dr. Meghan Lemke, M.D. of the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Center.

Recent studies show that allergies and asthma have both escalated. Why do you think this is? We believe that the rise of allergic disease including allergic rhinitis and asthma is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Due to the rapid rise over a few decades,


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This theory, often referred to as the “hygiene hypothesis,” is based on studies showing that children raised in rural areas, with exposure to farm animals and in larger families have less asthma. While the correlations are fascinating, they do not tell the whole story. On the contrary, some infections have been linked to the development of allergic diseases, such as RSV and asthma. There is still research that needs to be done, but in the meantime, we still recommend common-sense measures to protect kids from germs and sickness.

What is producing the most allergy-provoking pollen this spring? The first pollen to appear in this area is tree pollen. Starting in January, we began measuring cedar, juniper and elm pollen.

What do you suggest patients do as a treatment method for allergies? Do pharmaceutical treatments leave a negative effect? For patients with allergies, we recommend a combination of treatments. Environmental control measures to reduce exposure to the allergens, medications to address specific symptoms when needed, and if appropriate, immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, which is commonly known as “allergy shots,” is a treatment tailored to each individual patient. We administer gradually increasing doses of the patient’s specific allergens. Over time, this process teachers the immune system to ignore harmless particles such as pollen and animal dander, instead of “overreacting to them.” By addressing the root of the problem, the abnormal immune response, this treatment allows many patients to significantly reduce the number of medications needed to control their symptoms. Thankfully, the medications we use to treat allergies such as nasal sprays, antihistamines and other are generally both safe and effective. Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center is located at 504 Brookwood Blvd. For more visit or call 871-9661. 7

22 • April 2013


The Homewood Star

Home Guide

Six things to consider

when choosing fabric By MADOLINE MARKHAM Sheri Corey is entering outdoor cushion order season, but her store, Sew Sheri, is still taking plenty of fabric orders for drapery, bedding, furniture and more. With 20 years in the business and two and half owning her Mountain Brook Village showroom, Corey certainly knows fabrics. She boasts that, despite conceptions about a local store, it offers competitive prices and sales at least once a week. Most of all, she wants people to know that shopping with Sew Sheri allows you to customize a project just as you want it, and you are purchasing something made in the United States. “People don’t always realize you get superior quality over anything readymade,” she said. We talked with her about what to consider as you think about tackling spring fabric projects.

3. How much “wearability”: Consider how much the fabric will be used and sat on to determine the quantity of “double rubs,” which are the measure of how many abrasions a fabric can take before it wears out. Most fabrics come in at least 30,000 double rubs, but Sew Sheri carries fabrics with up to 150,000.

6. What’s trending: Corey said Sew Sheri is finally starting to see more colors, especially blues and greens as well as corals. Geometric, suzani (Asian-inspired designs with floral elements) and ikat (zigzag, diamondshaped and geometric patterns with feathered lines) designs are also big. For more on Sew Sheri, call 8798278 or visit

4. Indoor/outdoor fabric: Indoor/ outdoor fabric has become popular with parents of small children. The fabrics are now made soft to touch, and can be washed with soap and water. They also do not bleach or fade from sun exposure. 5. Neutral for big pieces: For big furniture pieces, Corey recommends choosing a neutral fabric instead of a pattern. If you get tired of a patterned fabric, it’s much easier to redo a chair or pillows than a sofa.











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Sheri Corey works in her Mountain Brook Village showroom, Sew Sheri. Photos by Madoline Markham.

1. When it’s time: You need new fabric when you see it fading and starting to get thin.

2. Reupholster vs. slipcover: If you like your current fabric and/or have children or pets, a slipcover is a good option for furniture. If your current fabric has wear and tear, consider reupholstering.


April 2013 • 23

The problem with puddles Standing water around your home deserves your attention

Water Drainage Solutions General Manager Jonathan Messner, Project Manager Brian Didcoct and Scot Thompson, responsible for landscape, design and installation.

What to watch for: ›› Sod dying ›› Standing water ›› Moisture in foundation ›› Cracks in foundation, patio or porch ›› Heavily eroded areas ›› Poorly graded beds and flat areas By JEFF THOMPSON The product of April showers isn’t always pretty. Puddles and spots of dying sod are dead giveaways your property might have bigger issues. Even something as small as where your gutter’s downspout releases could predict the need for thousands of dollars in repairs in the future. “Water is one of nature’s most destructive forces – if not the most destructive,” said Jonathan Messner, general manager of Water Drainage Solutions in Hoover. “And a water problem is not going to go away on its own.” The Homewood Star reached out to Water Drainage Solutions for what to look for in your yard this spring to avoid costly repairs or a reduction in property value. Here’s what they said:

›› Identify where your downspouts empty Messner said that keeping an eye on where rainwater from your gutters ends up is the difference between a healthy foundation and one that will attract negative attention from a home inspector. When downspouts empty next to your house, water often soaks into the soil alongside the foundation and can cause erosion. This can cause damage to the foundation. Check your basement walls for moisture, a clear sign this may be occurring, said Scot Thompson, who is responsible for landscape, design and installation with Water Drainage Solutions. Other, much more severe signs, he said, are cracks in the foundation that can cause the house to shift.

“You have to have gutters, spouts or drains to carry water away from the house a minimum of five feet,” Thompson said. “Otherwise, it’s going straight into your foundation.”

›› Keep an eye on your grass Messner said if your house is on a slab, erosion around the foundation isn’t your biggest worry. Your yard, however, is another story. Pooling water or “soupy, sloppy wet grass” are signs water isn’t draining off your property. It kills sod and trees and could eventually erode an area much larger than the obvious problem spot. Often, he said, this is either an issue with the slope of your yard or your home’s proximity to your neighbor. “With slab homes, especially homes no more than 15-20 feet apart, it’s very difficult to get the slope right,” Thompson said. “No sunlight means the water won’t evaporate, and if it’s already not running off that means it’s not going anywhere.” Taking care of these problems quickly is extremely important to the health of your property, and professionals can design aesthetic solutions, including French drains or flumes that appear as dry creek beds. “Even if you do not see a water issue at this time, if you don’t have drains for your downspouts or poorly graded foundation beds you should give someone a call,” Messner said. “It may not be a problem yet, but it is better to design and install a system before that happens so you are not stretched with the expense of fixing the damage.” For more on Water Drainage Solutions, call 244-1114 or visit

24 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Improve your

backyard barbecue By JEFF THOMPSON Patio upgrades in your future? According to Brandon Dill, owner of Southern Fireplaces Homewood, a high-end grill can improve most any outdoor living space. However, people often make the mistake of purchasing products that aren’t right for them, so The Homewood Star has brought him in to tell you exactly what to do when you’re in the market to roast, smoke or rotisserie in style. ›› Find your spot: Before you do anything, Dill said, identify where you want your new grill to be located. If, like many, you’re looking to add it to your back deck or patio, consider first where grill smoke could travel. Don’t locate your grill under overhangs, and keep it at a distance from doors to your home.

Brandon Dill, owner of Southern Fireplaces Homewood, with one of the high-end LIon grills his store carries. Photo by Jeff Thompson.

›› Know your space: Once you’ve found a safe location, measure the area where you want to put the grill. Doing so will help you eliminate models that aren’t the proper size. It will also help determine if some accessories are right

for your new outdoor kitchen. More on that later. ›› Know your needs: Before you start shopping, it’s important to consider how often you’ll be using you new grill and what you’ll be cooking on it. Dill said families often overestimate their needs. “How often do you cook?” he said. “How much do you use? Is it usually burgers or steaks for your family? People who only use half of what they have now may not need to buy something twice the size.” ›› Get your money’s worth: Dill said high-end grills, typically made of stainless steel, offer features that are superior to those on many mass-produced brands. The most important is a top-quality burner. Made of inferior materials in other grills that will need replacing, high-end grills offer burners made of cast iron or stainless steel and carry warranties of a decade or more. The next thing to look at is the grate, Dill said. Is it made of stainless steel or cast iron? No? Move on. These two metals are much sturdier and less likely to rust.

›› Make it yours: Other accessories or features to consider include: - Side burners for keeping dishes warm - Rotisseries for cooking chicken or turkey - Overhead lights to see the meat no matter what - Double-lined, stainless steel hoods ›› Finish your look: While putting a highend grill on a cart provides you the ability to take the party anywhere the wheels will roll, many families choose an outdoor island as a permanent setting for their new grill. For the Lion brand of grills sold at Homewood Fireplaces, Dill offers islands made of tile, stucco, brick and granite. Islands can contain space for not only grills, but also refrigerators, sinks and a variety of other features. “Basically, a high-end grill looks nicer, especially if it’s attached to a kitchen-style island.” Dill said. “It’s a much better look for any house.” For more on Southern Fireplaces Homewood, call 803-1118 or visit

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April 2013 • 25

Ponseti from pg 1

would have been too small to detect; the best way to eliminate recurrence was to treat it aggressively. This meant surgery to insert a power port and four rounds of four-hour chemo sessions every morning for five days with a two-week break in between. Spending the summer between junior and senior year sitting around home and hospital isn’t the ideal lifestyle for a high school girl, but Ponseti made the best of her situation. She and her parents, Jaime and Trish Ponseti started a journal on to give family and friends updates of her progress from diagnosis to treatment completion. In the journal, her mother quoted her saying “bring it on,” if hair loss and a tough summer were all it took to keep her life. Treatment came with a few silver linings, Ponseti said. She enjoyed the opportunity to become closer to her family and friends. She also experienced the kindness of the community, which played a large role in providing meals and motivation during her treatment. Using the website, multiple families worked with the Ponsetis’ schedule to bring meals for the duration of her illness. The family made sure to individually thank each family in the CaringBridge journal. Throughout her treatment, a theme of “Teal for Camille” emerged, embracing the national color for ovarian cancer awareness. People started painting their toenails, including her brother, Jake, who came to visit from Auburn. “I started getting tagged on Facebook in pictures of feet, even from people I didn’t know, with the caption ‘Teal for Camille.’” Ponseti said. “Even boys did it. It was really cool.” Ponseti stayed active in marching band despite her ill health. At the first home game, the band presented her with a plaque. The drum majors even made teal string wristbands and donated proceeds from selling one to each band member to the American Cancer Society in her honor. Her aunt sent the family teal wristbands with “Teal for Camille” on them, and her boyfriend, Lew Price, wore teal shoes.

The school even voted Ponseti the 2012 Homecoming Queen. “This community is like a family,” Ponseti said. “If something bad happens, even to someone you don’t know, everyone rallies together.” After four chemotherapy sessions, more testing and finally the removal of the port, Ponseti has been deemed cancer-free. Knowing her chemo was less vicious than other treatments, she said the hardest part was losing her favorite attribute — her long red hair. But she’s found a positive side to that. “It’s literally a weight off my shoulders,” she said, laughing, “and I’m healthy again.” In good health, Ponseti is ready for the next of life’s challenges. She’s currently considering accepting an academic and a music theater scholarship from Auburn University. Before that challenge, however, is the responsibility of being the honorary chair for Relay for Life. As the “face” of Relay in the community, she serves as a reminder that survivors are the heart of event and the reason to continue to fight cancer. Her responsibilities include being a spokesperson and assisting to promote Relay for Life, as well as speaking at the Survivor Dinner and Ceremony. Ponseti has embraced this role and is putting a team together for the fundraiser. As president of the HHS Improv Club, she has a target group of friends to enlist. Their current goal is to raise $1,000. Ponseti has previously attended Relay for Life walks to show support, but now she’s one of the ones being supported. “I can relate to the survivors now,” Ponseti said. “This experience helped me get perspective of what really matters and not to be too worried or concerned about things that are less important, like too much schoolwork.” In her journal, Ponseti wrote that she’d never truly embraced how amazing it is to feel normal. Ponseti and her team will join Relay for Life at Homewood Central Park on April 26. Each team member pays a $10 registration fee, and those who raise $100 or more will receive a Relay T-shirt. The Survivor Lap will begin the fundraiser at 4 p.m., and the Luminaria Ceremony will begin after dark. There will be entertainment and games throughout the night. To get involved, email or visit

BOE from pg


topography of the property as well as the needs of HCS, Homewood Middle School, area residents and the Valley Avenue corridor. Although the plans are still conceptual and open to revision, HCS Superintendant Bill Cleveland said the board wanted to present the plans to neighboring residents to solicit feedback before proceeding further. The proposed plan, presented at a neighborhood meeting on March 7, includes the following components for the property: ffGreenway- Trees would buffer a proposed 10-foot-wide walking and biking trail along Valley Avenue. ffPerimeter Fencing- A new fence would run along Valley Avenue and back down east of the property line. ffCross Country Course- A course would be created that snakes throughout the property to accommodate the growing cross country programs at both the middle and high schools. ffAccess Road- Existing roads within the apartment complex would be utilized to create an access road. It is under discussion whether the road will be gated and open only for events. ff200-Meter Track- The track would be relocated to from its current location at the southeastern corner of the property to a space just north of the baseball and softball fields next to Valley Avenue. Foundation material removed from the apartment buildings would be used to fill in the land below the new track. ffAthletic and Maintenance Storage Building- Appropriate buildings would be constructed between the new track and existing softball field for needed storage. ffParking for Baseball Field and Tennis Courts- Existing roads from the apartment complex would be utilized to create a parking area off of Valley Avenue that will be more convenient to the existing baseball field and tennis courts. Currently, parents, grandparents

and others watching games/matches must walk up a hill from the middle school to access the field and courts. ffCentral OfficeA one-story, approximately 10,000-square-foot building would be constructed on the southeastern corner of the property to accommodate approximately 19 staff members as well as Board of Education meetings and professional development, with a new parking lot located behind the building. It will be located adjacent to the Community Garden so that the main entrance to the building will be a patio or porch that serves as an entrance to the garden. The current office is located in an old house. At the meeting, Kyle Kirkwood of Williams Blackstone Architects noted that once the apartment buildings have been removed, green space will reduce storm runoff running south through Homewood into Griffin Creek, which often overflows. All of this will occur even before any new construction is started. Following the removal of the buildings, HCS first plans to build a sidewalk and greenway through the property to create safe routes for pedestrians, especially students walking to school. In addition to William Blackstock, Brasfield & Gorrie, Holcombe Norton Partners landscape architects, LBYD Civil and Structural Engineers and Skipper Consulting are working on the project. From here, Homewood City Schools and its team plan to continue to look into security measures and maintain dialogue with neighboring residents about how to best utilize the property. Construction for the initial portions of the development are projected to be bid out in May, and site preparation should begin in June. The Board of Education building is estimated to be completed in April 2014. The budget for the project is still being developed, according to Cleveland.

26 • April 2013

The Homewood Star

Calendar Homewood Events April 1, 2 & 4: 1984. Homewood High School’s spring production of George Orwell novel. HHS Bailey Theatre. 7 p.m. $1 students, $5 public. Call 871-9663. April 2: Homewood Music Jam Session. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Hart and Soul, Edgewood. Call 879-4868. April 8: And Then I Found You Launch Party. Author Patti Callahan Henry will speak. Refreshments and bar. 6 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum. Visit April 8: 5th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Training. Jefferson DHR and the Exchange Club will present. 10-11 a.m. at Family Guidance Center, 234 Aquarius Drive. Email April 8: Author Jill McCorkle and her new novel “Life After Life.” Alabama Booksmith, 4 p.m. Visit April 11: Gateway’s 5th Annual Off the Wall fundraising event. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Rosewood Hall in SoHo. Visit April 13: Walk MS. 1, 2 or 3-mile walk; entertainment; wellness fair. Homewood Central Park. 7:30 am. registration, 9:30 a.m walk. Visit or active. com, or email Amanda Burton at amanda. April 13: TEAM 413’s “Get There and Share” Half Marathon & GRACERUNNER 4.13 Run/Walk. Homewood’s SoHo Square, 2850 19th Street South. Early start 6:30 a.m., wheelchair start 6:55 a.m., half marathon 7 a.m. and 4.13K 7:15 a.m. Visit or email chris@ April 16: Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. Dr. Robert Robicheaux from UAB will be a guest speaker. 11:30 a.m. The Club. Visti April 17: Senior Center Picnic. Registration

required. 11 a.m. Patriot Park. Call 332-6500.

Columbiana Road. Call 942-3051.


April 20: Iron Warriors 5K. $25. Lakshore Greenway. 8 a.m.

May 3: Final Date for Assistance League Lobster Sale Orders. $25 each. Pickup is Friday, May 10 from 3-6 p.m. at Assistance League of Birmingham, 1755 Oxmoor Road. Call 960-1040 to order.

April 11: Girls Soccer vs. Sylacauga. 5 p.m.

May 4: Kidney Foundation Birmingham Walk-a-Thon. 8:30 a.m. registration, 9:30 a.m walk. Homewood High School’s Waldrop Stadium. Visit

April 16: Softball vs. Pell City. 4:30 p.m.

April 20: Brookwood Celebrates. Part of Birmingham Reads, an event that supports Better Basics’ literacy programs for at-risk students. Bring a new or gently used book to donate. There will be music and entertainment. Colonial Brookwood Village.10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit April 23: Alabama Women in Business Luncheon/Business Development Workshop. At Balch and Bingham. Mo Bunnell of Bunnell Idea Group will present “Creating Demandlearn how you can create more demand for your services and products.” Balch & Bingham, 1901 6th Avenue North.11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Members free, guests $30. Workshop and Luncheon 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Members $69, guests $89. Visit April 28: Hollywood Home Tour. 1-4 p.m. $17. Advance tickets are available at Hunter’s Cleaners, Harmony Landing, Arceneaux Gallery and Sweet Peas Garden Shop. Dayof tickets at homes: 218 La Prado Place, 300 Yorkshire Drive, 11 Bonita Drive, 224 Poinciana Ave. Visit historichollywoodtour. com. April 26: Relay for Life. Homewood Central Park. Email or visit April 26: Senior Center Friday Night Dance. Live music by Tradewinds Duo. 6:30-9:30. $5 members, $10 non-members. Call 332-6502 for reservations. April 27: Edgewood Spring Festival. Inflatables, carnival rides, games, silent auction. 2-6 p.m. Edgewood Elementary School. Email Barry Smith at April 28-June 8: Maud Coirier-Belser and Carey Williams. Opening reception April 28 1 p.m.-3 p.m. The Joy Gallery, Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 513

May 4: We Love Homewood Day. Homewood Central Park. Visit May 4: Spirit Scamper 5K and Fun Run. Homewood High School. 7:30 a.m. Visit May 4: Food Truck Round Up. Includes Shindigs, Dreamcakes, Spoonfed Grill and Off the Hook. Benefits Preschool Partners, a nonprofit program working to prepare at risk preschool children and their parents for kindergarten in Birmingham City Schools. Macy’s in Colonial Brookwood Village. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit or email Allene Neighbors at Allene.neighbors@

HHS Varsity Home Games April 2: Girls Tennis vs. Walker-Jasper. 3:30 p.m. April 4: Boys and Girls Tennis vs. Moody. 3:30 p.m. April 4: Softball vs. Briarwood. 4:30 p.m. April 6: Varsity Baseball vs. Mountain Brook. 12 p.m. April 8: Girls Tennis vs. Gardendale. 3:30 p.m. April 9: Boys and Girls Tennis vs. Briarwood. 3:30 p.m. April 9: Softball vs. Shades Valley. 4:30 p.m. April 9: Boys Soccer vs. Hoover. 7:30 p.m. April 10: Girls Tennis vs. Center Point. 3:30

April 12: Baseball vs. Ramsay. 4 p.m. April 12: Boys Soccer vs. Briarwood. 6:30 p.m. April 15: Baseball vs. Vestavia. 4 p.m. April 16: Boys Soccer vs. Sylacauga. 7 p.m. April 23: Softball vs. Montevallo. 5 p.m.

Homewood Public Library Teens and Adults April 4: Military Historian Dan Haulman, author of The Tuskegee Airmen. Haulman will discuss the Tuskegee Airmen and their significance in WWII. There will be a signing following the talk. Large Auditorium. 6:30 p.m. April 9: Small Business Seminar: Public Relations for Small Business. Learn public relation strategies for growing business, including events, press releases and story pitches. Large Auditorium. Noon. Participation is free, but space is limited. Contact Leslie West at or call 332-6620. April 9, 19: Beginner’s Altered Books Workshop with Allison Rhea. Take unwanted books and use it as a canvas for art. Large Auditorium. 5:30 p.m. $10 fee for supplies. Reservations required. Call 332-6620. April 9: The Oxmoor Page Turners Book Club. The club will discuss works by Helene Hanff: 84, Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury. Boardroom. 6:30 p.m. April 16: A,B,Cs of Medicare. Karen Haiflich will answer questions about how benefits are currently computed, how to become insured and how to file a claim. Room 116. Noon and 6 p.m. April 17: Calling All Teens: Chef E presents how to be a Food Fashionista. Chef E presents her program on adding color to your plate to

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Calendar become healthier and slimmer. There will be snacks, games and prizes. Large Auditorium. 4 p.m. Reservations required. Call 332-6620. April 24: The Better Than Therapy Book Club. The club will discuss M.L. Steldman’s Light Between Oceans. Boardroom. 2 p.m. April 26-27: Dolores Hydock and Bobby Horton Debut A Sweet Strangeness Thrills My Heart: The Journals of Sallie Independence Foster, 1861-1887. Light hors d’oeuvres buffet 6:30 p.m. Show 7:30 p.m. $25 buffet and show. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available April 1. Call 332-6625. Tuesdays Teen Connection. Free Evening Group Classes for teens 13-18 and their parents. Topics include decision-making for good health, managing stress and anger and healthy relationships with peers. 6-8 p.m. To register call Bethany at 945-6000. Children April 6, 20: Cereal and Cartoons. 10 a.m.noon April 8, 22: Monday Movie. Fresh popcorn and juice will be served to children. April 13, 25: Say Hola to Spanish. Languagelearning story time. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. April 18: Build a Salad Garden. Sallie Lee, Urban Regional Extension Agent, will lead the whole family in constructing pallet gardens. Registration required. Call 3326619. Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Story time for all ages. 10:30 a.m. Thursdays :Mommy and Me story time. 10:30 a.m. Fridays: Leaps and Bounds. 10:30 a.m. Call 332-6619 to register.

Community Events April 5-7: Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale. Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission. Former Century Plaza JC Penney, 7580 Crestwood Blvd. Visit April 6: Funky Fish Fry. Benefitting the Autism Society of Alabama and Mitchell’s Place. Avondale Brewery. 12:30-8 p.m. T $20 in advance ($25 at the door). Visit April 20: 8th Annual Episcopal Place Gumbo Gala. There will be gumbo and live music by Red Mountain and entertainment. Sloss Furnaces Historic National Landmark. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at gate. Children 12 and under are free. Visit or call Kris Mueller at 9390085, ext. 12 April 20: Mountain Brook Art Association 32nd Spring Art Festival. Crestline Elementary School Athletic Field, 25 Vine Street. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. If it rains, the event will take place April 21 from 12-5 p.m. Visit April 25: Bargain Carousel Bash. 6-10 p.m. $40 VIP, 7-10 p.m. $30 general admission. Visit April 26-28: Bargain Carousel. Annual 1,000-family garage sale to benefit Junior League of Birmingham projects. 10 a.m.5 p.m. $5. Former JC Penney location, 7580 Crestwood Blvd. Visit jlbonline. com/?nd=bargain_carousel. May 2: Legacy League Annual Scholarship Gala. Private reception at 6 p.m. and dinner, $125. Dinner only, 7 p.m., $75. Proceeds go toward endowing a new scholarship to Samford University for students who have been adopted or are in foster care. Call 7262247.

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Opinion Ordinary Days By Lauren Denton

Secrets to a happy family do have off days when we all seem The cover of the Sunday Parade to be at each other’s throats. When magazine caught my eye recently: that happens, should we all lie “The Secrets to a Happy Family.” down on the floor together so we’re The article was part of a book by at the same level? Is it that simple? the same title that claims to know Instead, I started wondering what the “ingredients that make families God says makes a happy family. effective, resilient and happy.” I’m Here’s what I found: usually suspicious of sweeping “Honor your mother and father generalizations like that, but of course so that it may be well with you and I was interested in finding out if our that you may enjoy long life on the family has those crucial ingredients. Denton earth.” -Ephesians 6:2-3 I learned that the most common “Fathers, do not provoke your children to time for family fights is between 6 and 8 p.m. — dinner time. Yet, kids who eat dinner with anger, but bring them up in the discipline and their family are less likely to do drugs or have instruction of the Lord.” -Ephesians 6:4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, eating disorders. This tells me we should eat dinner together, but avoid fighting. Picking but in humility count others more significant out their own punishments gives kids a greater than yourselves. Let each of you look not only sense of ownership over their behavior (and to your own interests, but also to the interests of somehow makes them happier). Maybe I should others.” -Philippians 2:3-4 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse let Kate choose whether to go to time out or lose her princess dolls for the day. If your kids are tongue crushes the spirit.” -Proverbs 15:4 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, involved in sports, he says to not act like the kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. coach — just be supportive. Some of the ingredients seemed a bit odd. For Bear with each other and forgive whatever example, kids who know about their ancestors grievances you may have against one handle stress better. Huh? Apparently, they have another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. a better sense of their intergenerational self, And over all these virtues put on love, which whatever that means. Also, when having an binds them all together in perfect unity.” argument with your spouse or child, make sure -Colossians 3:12-14 No religion or faith guarantees that you’re you both are “at the same level, with the same posture.” This avoids one person being in a happy all the time and that nothing bad will ever power position and therefore feeling (and acting) happen to you. All families have struggles, no matter where your faith lies. But I’d be willing superior, while the other person feels resentful. After reading through several of the points to bet that, at least at our house, being obedient, in the article, I started to feel like something compassionate, humble and kind will get us was missing. While the author did have some farther than arranging our living room furniture good ideas for boosting a family’s happiness into a calming circle. Lauren can be reached at LaurenKDenton@ quota, many of the ingredients seemed empty. After all, my family is a happy one, but we

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April 2013

The Homewood Star

The Homewood Star April 2013  
The Homewood Star April 2013  

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